Trailers are an under-appreciated art form insofar that many times they’re seen as vehicles for showing footage, explaining films away, or showing their hand about what moviegoers can expect. Foreign, domestic, independent, big budget: What better way to hone your skills as a thoughtful moviegoer than by deconstructing these little pieces of advertising? This week we act black, reveal the deepest secrets  of our lives to complete strangers, get our minds blown up by Gondry and Chomsky, stare collectively at the male schlong, and wonder what’s in the water in Finland.

Wigger Please Trailer

Yup, that was me.

High School. Circa 1990-1993. I was into In Living Color, Janet Jackson, Full Force (you know, the bullies from House Party), Babyface, New Jack City, you name it. If it was urban I was probably really obsessed with the idea of it. And I couldn’t tell you why other than it felt completely OK for this white kid from the northwest suburbs of Chicago to be down with it all. This trailer captures that sense of co-opting that occurs with white males who lean in this direction. While it starts off with a black and white retelling of a story I wasn’t sure if this was a goof or supposed to be a real moment.

Most of the trailer vacillates between black and white and color for reasons I don’t completely understand but the message is stronger than the delivery and it does pace itself solidly. The real meat on this bone comes around the 1:15 mark when we get the crux of what this all means, what hovers just beneath this topic: the issue of racial convenience.

Director Jonathan Ashley looks to have made a documentary that is selling itself less on its academic prowess, there isn’t a multitude of scholars here offering their cultural and sociological opinion on the matter, but instead is using the experiences of those who live within this ecosphere. 

This really was my jam. Ahh, the halcyon days.

Mortified Nation Trailer

I’m sure there’s a word for it.

That sense of awkwardness you get from seeing someone do something that is cringe-worthy not because it’s disgusting but because you sense the icky feelings you know they’re rolling through at that moment. What this trailer does is take a concept of what it would be like for you to share your deepest, darkest thoughts, perhaps written when you were an adolescent, and share them with complete strangers. The concept seems unbelievably hilarious when you see these performers just tossing out moments of their lives which felt completely real to them decades ago but now seems silly and fodder for our laughter. What director Michael Mayer seems to have done is take us through what it would be like to be one of these people, to be an average Joe or Jane baring your soul for the entrainment of others. And it seems to work. Really well.

We are whisked from moment to moment with great care but without any slack whatsoever. We don’t know any one of these people but because it seems so intimate do we connect with them. Makes a damn good case why this could be a gem you weren’t expecting to watch but now feel drawn in by its earnestness.

Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? Trailer

Here’s everything you need to know about director Michel Gondry’s new documentary: It’s a conversation with Noam Chomsky.

That’s it. Nothing more than that. No talking heads, no third party, no outside observers, just Michel and Noam just dishing while animation draws it all into focus. And, for some reason, it looks absolutely amazing. I won’t purport to know what Chomsky’s raison d’être is when it comes to his thesis on the world and life and perception but it certainly feels like something we’ve all encountered in a philosophy 101 class when it comes to thinking about the great cosmic question of, “Is my perception of the color blue the same as your perception of the color blue?” These are the kinds of rabbit hole thinking that permeates the trailer and pops into focus when Gondry’s animation colors the conversation. It helps to contextualize the moments these two men are sharing while also giving these heady concepts a little pop, a little cheekiness. There is no way around it with this one, and you’re either in or you’re out. As we’ve seen with his previous documentary work, The Thorn in the Heart, he’s not interested so much in commercial appeal as he is just exploring the concepts and ideas that interest him.

Hush Trailer

What in the hell is happening in Finland?

From crime films, crime novels, and the attraction of death metal, that place seems consumed with the seedy undercarriage of life. Their obsession, though, makes for some great entertainment and this is no exception. Finnish director Jyri Kähönen comes barreling out of the gate in this trailer with a haunting score that is devoid of anything else but pulsating sound. In a matter of seconds we get the world we’re in and we know nothing good is about to happen. But it’s devilishly decadent with its focus on the aftereffects rather than what has brought us all here and what in the world is going to happen with these kids. Namely, what these kids are planning to do and whether they’ll get away with it free and clear. The answer is never as easy as yes or no but it looks like a tight thriller that will take us on a wild ride down a very dark spiral.

UnHung Hero Trailer

It looks like a goof. Feels like a goof. It’s gotta be a goof.

What is real, though, apart from the unnecessary comedic build up is this social perception about a man’s member and how it relates to what it actually means to be a man. Small package? Must be less of a man. Can’t get it up? Must be something seriously wrong with you. Girth? Length? All completely normal, social measuring sticks to judge whether you are a proper dude. I found this was a serious and appropriate examination into our culture’s obsession of sex that didn’t use women as its focus. It’s refreshing, actually, to see Dan Savage pop up here to weigh in, to get a porn star’s opinion (it happens early on in the trailer and it’s about what you would expect to hear), and get some frank discussion about why guys have been focused on their wieners since time immemorial. And no one would fault them for it and the trailer does a great job in not laughing at the subject but it’s the comedic premise at the beginning which so throws me for a loop. I get there needs to be an entre into how we get here but it just doesn’t work for me. Director Brian Spitz has a solid subject, though, to explore and this is a good start.

Nota bene: If you have any suggestions of trailers to possibly be included in this column, even have a trailer of your own to pitch, please let me know by sending me a note at Christopher_Stipp@yahoo.com or look me up via Twitter at @Stipp

In case you missed them, here are the other trailers we covered at /Film this week:

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